First Christian Church

Submitted by Nelle Price Epps

A History of the First Christian Church
of Athens, Georgia

Written December 19, 1915
Stanley Roberts Grubb, Minister

In the year 1876, Rev Thomas M. Harris, a minister of the Churches of Christ, came to Athens and preached in the old Town Hall which stood on Washington Street. Here he organized a congregation of about a dozen members. They had no house of worship or regular preaching until 1884 when the frame building which they have used until now, was erected.

The first regular preacher to serve this church was S. D. Ridgeway. He was succeeded by R. V. Omer. Among those who have labored with the congregation since that time are D. R. Pickens, E. L. Shelnutt, John Cronenberger, T. J. Langston, A. B. Reeves, and W. A. Chastain, who was minister at two different times and who labored faithfully and successfully for the building of this work. To his labors more than to any other pastor this congregation is indebted for its growth.

The present minister began his labors here August, 1909 Since that time the membership has increased 50 per cent, and the Sunday School 150 per cent. The present membership is 300.

Four years ago the lot which had belonged to the Orr family for many years was purchased and it was decided to erect a new building as soon as funds and plans could be secured. George W. Kramer, of New York, who has made a specialty of church architecture for forty years was retained as architect and to his genius we are indebted for the symmetry and beauty of this house of worship. Work was begun late in October, 1914. When the organ is installed, as is planned will be soon after the first of the New Year, the lot, building, and furnishings will be valued at $50,000.

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